Toronto
6 min

Hedonism 2000

Sex, drugs & workin' it all week long

PARTY ALL NIGHT. And take a quick nap in the wee hours. Credit: John Webster

When I was a kid, I thought hedonism had something to do with Club Med. You know… people with Bo Derek hairstyles, beads, the sound of the ocean and the whirl of a cocktail blender.



But then I grew up and my whole perception changed. Except for the cocktail blender, my concept of hedonism took on a completely different aesthetic. It now involves some extremely erotic and mind-blowing sexual experiences that can take a person to another plane altogether. In place of the sunshine and micro-thongs are images of bare light bulbs and torn Calvin briefs and the skanky smell of month-old poppers.



The Oxford American Dictionary defines a hedonist as “a person who believes that pleasure is the chief good in life.” Although I don’t believe I have ever met a true hedonist, based on that definition, I have certainly met my share of people, especially in the homo world, who believe in spending a lot of time and energy seeking out lots of pleasure. Of course, people involve themselves in these kinds of activities for a variety of reasons, some of which are more sane than others.



Sometimes (all the time?) I look at a group of good-looking guys standing together at a smoky bar and wonder if they might not all be having a much better time lying naked together somewhere, like on the floor of my apartment. The problem is there is so much bullshit attached to sex and pleasure, so many boundaries and lines get drawn, that most of the time it all gets pretty messy and hidden and dirty.



There are social issues to think about, there are health issues (obviously) and there is this weird code most of were raised with that says it’s bad to have too much candy. This doesn’t stop people from doing it, but it definitely changes the context. It’s fine to have a healthy attitude about pleasure, but how many times have you been having “pleasure” when you suddenly realize your partner is really fucked up about it.



There are many reasons why people seek out good times, but having spoken to many people recently about their hedonistic activities, I have discovered there is definitely a pattern. There are some general categories: There are those who are very aware of what they are doing and consciously seek out pleasure and fun (I guess they are closest to the true definition of hedonist); there are those who are caught up in it to the point of addiction; and there are those who are consciously seeking pleasure but hoping to get more out of it than a blow job and a night on the town.



The following snapshots are based on the guys I interviewed recently whose experiences most strongly define the three most common types of hedonists.



Which of these guys is the most together? Which one is based on me? Which one is based on you? The answer to these questions is the big answer to sex, drugs and enjoying the pursuit of pleasure….



Figure it out for yourself.





JEFF: EYE OPENER



It’s 6:30am when the K starts wearing off enough that Jeff can begin to comprehend the reality of his situation. It’s Friday morning and he has a heavy work day ahead that he can’t blow off.



He’s in Toronto on business, staying at a nearby hotel. He’s been involved in a group scene since about nine o’clock last night. He’s got to get back to the hotel, but he’s suddenly aware that there’s a very hot young guy sucking his cock and he doesn’t want to go. There are three other guys in the steamy bedroom: a couple of them are passed out on the sweaty sheets, there’s the guy between his legs, and another one jacking off in a chair a few feet away.



The music is some really awful, faggoty Madonna dance track, but the TV is flashing images of rap artists with shiny clothes, big jewelry, guns and girls with big tits…



A half hour later at the hotel he strips out of the party clothes and tosses them into a plastic bag, burying them in his luggage. He takes an invigorating hot shower, calls the front desk for a wake-up call and grabs a 90-minute power nap before the inevitable work day begins. He’s only 32. He can still handle a couple of days like that each month.



“I travel a lot and part of my trip is always about hooking up with guys for sex. But, I mean, really great sex… not just wham-bam shit. I’m into really long scenes, whether it’s with one guy or more. I love sex. I love the way my cock feels when I’m connecting with someone else. A lot of times drugs are involved, but not always.



“I have this very strong natural desire to have pleasure, mentally and physically, and what better way than to hang out and have sex? I’m responsible about it. It’s not fucking up my career. I’m very careful when it comes to the safety issues.



“I love good times. I love sex. It’s really important to me to make it a big part of my life.”





STEVEN: THE NOSE KNOWS



Steven moved to New York four years ago. It is apparent to me and all of Steven’s friends that he has a problem, but this is something which totally escapes him; the party goes on. Unfortunately, none of us know how long Steven will go on… at least at this rate.



“This city is fucking wild. It can be tough, you know, but I fucking love it here. It’s different than what I thought it would be, it’s harder to make it. But I’m never leaving.



“A typical week? Okay. As long as you don’t tell anyone who I am….



“Well, Monday is usually a little rough at work because I’m so fucking wiped out from the weekend. Monday nights I go home and crash, like, totally crash, in front of the TV. I order pizza or Chinese food or something and pig out and just do nothing. I sleep about 11 hours to try to catch up.



“So Tuesday is better than Monday at work. I hate my job. My boss is a total bitch who needs to get laid big time and I know she hates me – I work in a credit card department of a bank, it’s so boring – and I know she’s never going to give me a raise or a promotion.



“The day is so long I can’t stand it, and I’m out of there at five o’clock. I go home and make calls to see who’s around to party with later. My coke guy is always home doing business from six to midnight, so I usually go over there around seven to visit. It’s better to go there in person instead of having it delivered because he’ll give me a few free lines to get kick-started before I start snorting the gram I have to pay for. It’s expensive.



“We hang a while and shoot the shit. He’s always got ET or Access Hollywood on real loud and we talk back to the TV. I tell him all the big stars who are supposed to be gay and we make fun of Maureen O’Boyle.



“I leave there around nine and by that time the coke’s made me so fucking horny I either go to the booth store right away or go home to do the phone lines. Blah, blah, blah. Okay?



“Wednesday, Thursday, all the same. I leave work Friday nights and go straight to Joey’s place… he’s my dealer. I get bumped up, which means I get really, really horny. I’m like grabbing myself in my jeans the whole time I’m there. Can’t wait to jack off or have sex with someone. I used to go out with friends, but now I go straight home and get onto the Internet or the phones to find someone to hook up with.



“I find total absolute sexual ecstasy on coke. My cock feels like… I don’t know… like it’s just this piece of sex meat hanging between my legs, growing out of my crotch. You know what I mean? I woke up to this total realization of how good it felt to be in that state, and I go after it big time, with a vengeance. You want me to go on? The rest of the week gets better…



“I’ve been doing this for almost three years. Well, it’s been getting a little more intense lately and I’ve been fucking up at work a little. I’m a little behind on the rent… I sometimes think I should take a break, you know, stop doing it for a while. Don’t print this part.



“You know those ads about HIV in H/X [a New York-based mag]? I’m always sort of thinking about that stuff in the back of my mind, but I think everybody is. I don’t think I’m addicted. No, I don’t think so. Why, do you?”





PAUL: HEART STRINGS ATTACHED



By two Saturday morning, Paul is in his room at Toronto’s St Marc, taking a little break from the action. He’s been there four hours already and has had sex with five different guys.



He has bypassed going to the bars first, an activity which he used to love; an activity which was the centre of his social world. Now he has no time for all the bar bullshit. He wants to get right down to business.



“The people at the baths are like my family. It’s a lot easier to connect with somebody there than at a bar. You’re almost naked, hanging out in just a towel… it’s so laid back and it’s so intimate. I love hooking up with guys like that.



“Ultimately, I would like to meet a lover, there. Some people think that’ll never happen, but I never say never. I’m having fun, anyway. I know a lot of people are there just to get off, but you never know. It’s all about finding a husband. Seriously.”